Do you Know the Legend Behind the Name Change of Nurpur, Known for Nurpur Fort Ruins?

Nurpur is  a small town in Himachal Pradesh, known for the ancient fort ruins. Nurpur Fort ruins can be seen in this  town. This town was the capital of kingdom of Nurpur, originally known as Dhameri.

Nurpur Fort
Nurpur Fort

This kingdom was founded during the end of the eleventh century, by Raja Jhet Pal.  He was the younger brother of the then ruler of Delhi. The Kings of Nurpur kingdom bore the title Raja.

During the reign of Raja Basu Dev, Nurpur reached its peak. It was between 1580 and 1613. Raja Basu Dev built the fort here.  The kingdom became a feudatory  state under  the Mughals. Later on, they were defeated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1815, who  established the Sikh Empire.

In 1849, this tiny kingdom with an area of just 180 square kilometers was annexed by the British East India Company. Raja Jaswant Singh Pathania was the last monarch of the kingdom.

16th century Brij Raj Swami temple is situated inside the fort. This temple is unique that idols of Lord Krishna and Meera Bai are work-shipped here.

The British has destroyed the fort partly and an earthquake also destroyed this fort in 1905.

Legend Behind Name Change from Dhameri to Nurpur

The name change of this town from Dhameri to Nurpur has a story behind it. It is believed that Nur Jahan, wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, was so impressed by the beauty of this small town that she decided to stay there for the rest of her life.

To avoid the town becoming the central point for Mughal domination, the then rulers decided to tell her a lie to avoid her from staying there. They told the queen that staying in the town for a long periods of time may spoil her  beauty due to  a fictitious local disease.  The terrified queen, immediately left the town.

Name of the town was then changed to Nurpur, to honor Nur Jahan. (Nur Jahan was the most powerful and influential woman at the Mughal court. She was the only Mughal empress to have coinage in her name. )

How Do I Go to Nurpur Fort?

Nurpur Fort is in Nurpur town, which is connected by road network to all parts of the state. Pathankot-Kullu – Manali highway passes through this small town. Pathankot is at around 26 kilometers distance. Palampur  is at around 87 kilometers and Dharamsala is at around 60 kilometers from Nurpur

Nearest Airport is situated at Dharamshala.  Jammu Airport is at around 129 kilometers distance, while Amritsar Airport  is at around 134 kilometers away.

Nearest Railway station is at Pathankot, which is a major station in Punjab.

Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary & Mashobra Presidential Retreat

Mashobra is a small town near Shimla in Himachal Pradesh state, India. Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary is situated near this town. One of Presidential retreats is situated at Chharabra, in the vicinity of Mashobra Town.

Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary near MashobraShimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary near Mashobra

Mashobra offers magnificent view of the mighty Himalayas. This Himalayan town is located at an altitude of 2,146 meters or 7,041 feet.

Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary is a major tourist attraction here. It has has area of 10 square kilometers. Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary was notified as a sanctuary on 07th June, 2013, by the state government.

The Presidential retreat on the outskirts of Mashobra, is situated at around 13 kilometers away from downtown Shimla. It’s 1000 feet higher than the Shimla Ridge Top.

The president of India normally visits the Presidential retreat at Chharabra, once in an year.   Chharabra is a small village with less than 500 people, including the retreat staff. (The second presidential retreat is at Secunderabad). President’s core office is shifted to the retreat, during president’s stay here. It was built in 1850.

In May 1948, Lord Mountbatten and his wife Lady Edwina, spent a few weeks in this retreat, just before returning to London at the end of his term; first as as viceroy and then governor general of India, on India attaining Independence from the British.

Wildflower Hall at Chharabra is another heritage buiilding here. It is now a heritage hotel run by Oberoi Hotels. It was  the residence to Lord Kitchener, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Army in India (1902–09)  and Secretary of State for War, a Cabinet Minister, during World War I. It also served as the residence of Lord Ripon, the Viceroy of India (1880–1884) and a Cabinet Minister in every Liberal Party’s cabinet, from 1861 until 1907, an year before his death.

How Do I Go to Mashobra?

Mashobra is connected to  Shimla by the historic Hindustan–Tibet Road, built by Lord Dalhousie in 1850. It is around 13 kilometers away from Shimla. It takes around 40 minutes drive from Shimla Town.

Kalka mountain railway station is the nearest railway station to Mashobra. The nearest airport is at Shimla.

Rewalsar Lake – High Altitude Sacred Square Shaped Lake

Rewalsar Lake is a square shaped lake at around 22.5 kilometers  south-west of Mandi, in Himachal Pradesh state, India. It is at an altitude of about 1,360 meters above sea level.

Rewalsar LakeRewalsar Lake

Rewalsar Lake is sacred for  Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. There are a lot of temples, Gurudwaras and monasteries around the lake. Three Hindu temples are there around the lake which are dedicated to Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and to the sage Lomas. Sikh guru (saint) Gobind Singh, the tenth saint in Sikhism, resided here for about  one month. Three Buddhist monasteries are situated at Riwalsar.

Padmasambhava or ‘Guru Rinpoche’  hailed from this place,Rewalsar. He is venerated as a ‘Second Buddha‘ by  those who believes in Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism is the largest practiced tradition of Buddhism.

Kunt Bhyog is another holy lake at an altitude of 1,750 meters above sea level, above Rewalsar Lake.

How Do I Go to Rewalsar Lake?

Rewalsar Lake is situated at a distance of around 22.5 kilometers  south-west of Mandi alias Mandavya Nagar. Mandi  is the capital of the district with the same name. Mandi town on the banks of river Beas, is also known as Chhota Kashi (Hindi word Chhota  means Small and Kashi is the name of the holiest place for Hindus).

NH 20 (Pathankot-Mandi National highway) and NH 21 (Chandigarh-Manali National highway) connects Mandi town with other parts of the country. Mandi city is on the Kullu-Manali route.

Chandigarh and Pathankot are nearest railway stations on the Broad Gauge line, at 191 and 223 kilometers distance respectively from Mandi town.

Easiest and Magnificent Trekking – Triund Hill Trekking

Triund Hill Trekking is very popular among trekkers in India. Triund hills are situated near Dharamsala, the spiritual capital of Buddhism. These hills are situated on the lap of Dhauladhar mountain ranges at an altitude of 2,842 meters.

Triund Hill Trekking routeTriund Hill Trekking route

The trekking path is full of rhododendrons (a woody plant which is either evergreen or deciduous). It is better to go when rhododendrons flowers. The forests here is full of oak and deodar trees.

Triund offers spectacular view of the dhauladhar mountains on one side and kangra valley on the other.

Triund Trekking is suitable for people of all ages and is not very risky. The first 5 kilometers are quite easy to trek. the last one kilometer or so is slightly tiring. 22 curves are there in the last one kilometers. Refreshments are available on the trekking path, though it may cost higher at these shops.

There is a Forest department guest house also at the top of the hills, which should be booked in advance, as there are only 6 rooms here.  Booking can be done at the state forest department office, situated opposite to Dharamsala police station.

Triund campsiteTriund campsite

There are trekking operators who offer Triund trekking package tours. You have the option of returning on the same day or staying overnight at the Triund camping tents put up by trekking operators, on top of the hills.

Trekking to Triund should be avoid during the snowfall season; i.e. during the months of January and February.

How Do I Go for Triund Hill Trekking?

Dharamsala alias Mcleodganj is the nearest major town to Triund hills.

Route 1 – Galu Devi temple is the starting point in this route for trekking to Triund hills. You can hire a cab  or walk from Dharamkot or Mcleodganj to Galu Devi temple. It takes around four hours to reach the top. Mcleodganj to Triund trekking is the most popular trekking route.

Route 2- Bhagsu Nag waterfall is the starting point in this route for trekking to Triund hills.  This route is a little more tougher than the first route and chances of getting lost are higher in this route. It may be better to engage the services of a guide, if you prefer to go by this route.

Kangra Fort – The largest Fort in the Himalayas

Kangra Fort is a believed to be the oldest dated fort in India, on the outskirts of the Himalayan town of Kangra, near Dharamsala.

Kangra Fort

Kangra Fort

This National Monument is considered as one among the most beautiful forts or best forts in India. Kangra Fort was built by the the Rajput Katoch dynasty of the Kangra state. This royal family has its origins dating back to the ancient Trigarta Kingdom, mentioned in the Great Epic, Mahabharata.

Kangra Fort stands on a steep rock, at the confluence of Banganga river and Majhi river. Two gates which were added by the Sikh Maharaja welcomes you to a small courtyard. A long and narrow passage takes you to the top of this historic fort.

Ahani and Amiri Darwaza are two gates built by Nawab Saif Ali Khan, the first Mughal Governor of Kangra, on this small passage. Jehangiri Darwaza is another gate at around 500 feet distance from the outer gate the passage. Darsani Darwaza is another gate, near to which, you can see defaced statues of Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna. Lakshmi Narayana Sitala and Ambika Devi are two shrines situated here. There is a passage in between these two shrines, which takes you to the Palace, which is considered as one among the historic royal palaces in India.

Kangra Fort is a historic fort. This historic place has resisted siege from the third Mughal emperor Akbar, in early 16th century. His successor and son, Jehangir, was successful in conquering the fort in 1620.

In 1789, Raja Sansar Chand II succeeded in recovering the fort belonging to his ancestors. The Rajput king fought wars with Gurkhas, Katochs and Sikhs. Gurkha army was successful in opening the armed gates of the fort in 1806, resulting in an alliance between Maharaja Sansar Chand and Maharaja Ranjit Singh. However, the Gurkhas left the fort as they realised that there is severe short supply of essential items, after the long drawn battle Maharaja Sansar Chand had with the Gurkhas and Sikhs.

This historical site remained with the Katoch dynasty till 1828. After the death of Sansar Chand, the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh who reigned from 1801 to 1839, conquered the fort. Finally, the British took control over the fort, after the war with Sikhs in 1846.

Maharaja Sansar Chand Katoch Museum is a small museum situated close to entrance of the fort. This Museum is run by the Royal Family of Kangra. History of this fort is exhibited here. Audio guide is available here.

Jayanti Mata temple is a famous nearby temple on a hilltop. Jayanti Mata temple was built in the late 17th century by (Bada Kajee) Amar Singh Thapa, the General of the Nepal’s Gorkha Army.

How Do I Go to Kangra Fort

Kangra Fort is at a distance of around 20 kilometers from Dharamsala, where the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration is situated.

Amb Andaura railway station with station code AADR, is the nearest major railway station at around 48 kilometers distance from the fort town. Churaru takrala railway station (station code CHTL) is at around 58 kilometers away. Both these are small station. Pathankot is one of the nearest major railway stations at around 88 kilometers from Kangra. Dharamsala-Kangra Airport at Gaggal is the nearest airport to Kangra Fort.